Posts

Self Esteem

Self esteem is the ability to have and enduring sense of worth, value, and self-acceptance. Often we reject parts of ourselves, and judge ourselves harshly. To avoid feeling worse we often develop defense mechanisms that compound the issue. We often blame, get angry, become perfectionists, brag, make excuses, or turn to alcohol and drugs, or other numbing, addictive behaviors.

“…we often develop defense mechanisms that compound the issue”

One can begin to change these patterns by changing the way you interpret your life by uncovering faulty thinking, negative self talk, and self-judgment. Skills can be learned to change negative thinking, beliefs, and ways of interpreting information. Self compassion and a commitment to non-judgment and self-acceptance, while doing the work to improve one’s self-concept is the focus of therapy.

Credit: Jan Doty

EMDR: training the mind with positive therapy

When words aren’t enough, EMDR therapy

Have you been through years of therapy but still feel as though you are suffering?  Do you have a lot of insight into your issues but feel that talking about it isn’t helping?  If so, EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) might be the right approach for you. EMDR is a mind-body system therapy. Traditional talk therapy can be helpful for many issues but talking alone doesn’t access all of the elements of what is disturbing you or keeping you unhappy.   Consider that our brain has two hemispheres; the left is more logical and the right, more emotional. EMDR connects what we logically already know with what we feel, both emotionally and physically through body sensations.

EMDR combines elements of several different therapies with alternate right and left (bilateral) eye movements, tones, or tactile stimuli. In essence, the bilateral stimulation encourages the left and right sides of the brain to communicate effectively. The brain releases the fight or flight response. As a result, clients find that they feel more in the present and less controlled by what lies underneath.  EMDR helps to identify, process, integrate and release negative emotions and memories, and it is used worldwide to help victims of trauma to heal and move on with their lives. EMDR is used to address everything from resolving the effects of life trauma to enhancing personal performance, rebuilding the Self and healing anxiety and depression.  For more information about the process of EMDR and what happens in the session visit the following web site:  http://www.emdria.org/

In New Orleans, contact our Metairie therapy office here.

In Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington & Hammond, La, contact our Mandeville counseling office here.

Dana Duet-Champagne, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

What is (EMDR) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment that can resolve long-standing and recent trauma.

During EMDR, the client is asked to hold in mind an image of the trauma, a negative self-cognition, negative emotions, and related physical sensations about the trauma. While doing so, the client is instructed to move his or her eyes quickly and laterally back and forth, following the therapists’ fingers or scanner, which desensitizes the troubling material and allows positive cognitions to replace the negative cognitions. Theoretically, EMDR evokes a mind-brain state that enables traumatic memories to be effectively processed and become integrated with more adaptive information. While there is no well-supported account of how eye-movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation alter clients’ experience of traumatic memories, this bilateral stimulation can reduce the vividness, emotionality, and completeness of unpleasant or traumatic memories, therefore driving improvements in how individuals experience these events. One theory is that this dual-task component of EMDR disrupts a memory image in the working memory, which then leads to the client feeling a greater distance from the associated traumatic experience. As traumatic memory is desensitized, the general functioning of the client is improved, resulting in less anxiety and depression, fewer somatic symptoms, and improved self-esteem.

While we do not yet understand in detail how any form of psychotherapy works, EMDR appears to be a viable treatment option for trauma and other disturbing events.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense Practice Guidelines highly recommend EMDR for the treatment of trauma, and is also highly endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association as well as the National Institute of Mental Health.

Dr. Kristen UnKauf, LPC

In New Orleans, contact our Metairie therapy office here.

In Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington & Hammond, La, contact our Mandeville counseling office here.
 

Process of therapy & counseling

Counselors will use a variety of techniques derived from a variety of theories to work with any given individual. I would like to take a moment and tell you a bit about one of mine. I know that when a client comes through my door, it is important that I do at least three things. First, I mentally prepare myself for the new client. I take a moment to have a few deep breaths and I visualize all of my personal issues being waved out the door until later as I need to be present for the person that will come through that door. Next, as I greet my client, I want them to feel comfortable and welcome in my office, so I offer them a cup of water or coffee. I also joke and ask them if they had any questions as they read through the mountain of paperwork that they are bombarded with when they decide to make an appointment.
More often than not, this will be a person’s first visit to counseling, so I want to be sure that I explain to them my philosophy about counseling without throwing around a bunch of theoretical jargon. What I tell them is that as I visualize how human brains work, and I compare it to a file cabinet. I believe that all persons’ experiences in life, good or bad, small or big, make up the person, and all that information is stored in the file cabinet (brain). Some people are able to take the time to process and organize thoughts and feelings regarding each of these experiences, and do a nice job of keeping the file cabinet tidy. Many people, however, may not do such a great job with this. Perhaps an experience is too painful, sorrowful, bittersweet, or just taken for granted. Sometimes time does not permit, and experiences are tossed into the cabinet drawers without regard for how they are thrown in. If this happens, often the file cabinet drawer becomes too full too fast. Then things get crowded, messy, and things start to spill out. This is when a person may begin to experience that feeling of being overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. This is the point where I usually enter the picture.
To me, counseling is that process that helps the person pull out the files in the cabinet, put all the pieces together, organize the experiences, and make sense of them. It is at that point that the person can begin to store away all of those experiences again. Some are discussed at length, while others are simply acknowledged and relished for a moment. I believe a person gains a perspective during this process that it is possible has never been seen before. This is how I define an “ah-ha” moment. This is my favorite moment. The light-bulb moment. When this process is complete, what the person finds is that not only have their files stopped spilling all over the place, but that they have a significant amount of room still available to them. More room in that cabinet for filling it with life and love, with hope and sorrow.
At the end of that process I simply remind the person of the work done, and let them know that my door is always open should they find that they need me again. It is my hope that at the end of any counseling relationship, the person leaving my office feels more empowered, and knows how to file away their experiences in a more healthy way.


Micah P. Hatchett, Ph.D., LPC, NCC
Clinical Director & Counselor
Northshore Counseling and Wellness

Parents, children & technology

The other day my friend came to me because she found porn on her ten year old daughter’s iPod Touch and she didn’t know what to do.

Technology has made life easier, multitasking more convenient, but it has also given children and adolescents access to a greater number of things that they shouldn’t be exposed to just yet. This is why I suggest parents be more aware of what their child is participating in on their electronic devices. There should be a common set of expectations between the child and parents. The rules should be based on the age of the child and parents should regularly check and monitor their activity. If having time to monitor this activity is an issue, there are parental controls and applications that can be used. I think in these situations it is probably better to be a little more involved instead of blissfully unaware. Kids have more respect for parents that put in the time to be tuned in to what they are accessing, and this can result in a better relationship between parents and teenagers.

Suzanne Kelley
M.Ed, NCC, LPC-I

New Therapy location in Metairie

Our new office is open and providing individual, family and group therapy for New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner and surrounding areas

North Shore Counseling and wellness is available for counseling appointments beginning Monday, October 1, 2012 at our new address. We are serving existing patients from our Mandeville office for your convenience. If you work or are frequently in the Metro New Orleans area, schedule your next appointment at your convenience at our new Metairie office.

If you are a resident of the Greater New Orleans area, seeking counseling for marriage, family, relationships, addiction, bipolor disorder, collaborative divorce, medication management, assessment for ADHD, ADD or PTSD, schedule an appointment by calling or contacting our therapy office today.

South Shore Counseling & Wellness:

(504) 717-4043

433 Metairie Road
Suite 309
Metairie, LA 70005

Map and driving directions for our New Orleans North & South Shore Counseling & Wellness offices

Marriage Counseling: How and why it can help your relationship

How will Marriage Counseling help you?

  • Resolve conflict
  • Learn new communication skills
  • Therapy guides you both through your positive skills
  • Grow better, together

It is common for couples even in strong relationships and marriages to have difficulty at times.  This is because we each bring our communication and coping skill sets into our relationships, and at some point in the relationship those skills might be clashing or might not be developed enough to handle stressors that the relationship encounters.  If the couple can’t move past these glitches on their own, couples counseling can be very effective at helping them learn new skills and new ways of relating.  Interestingly, our best research indicates that even the healthiest couples disagree up to 70% of the time on crucial issues, so the good news is that we don’t have to aim for convincing our partners to see things our way to achieve happiness in relationships.
Couples counseling helps you to learn which of your current skill sets are working for you in the relationship, and what skills need to be developed.  Having a neutral and objective therapist in the conversation helps the process to remain productive, calm, and allow each of you to have support in the change process.  The therapist is able to point out areas that both of you need to gain more perspective on and areas for growth.  Finally, the therapist is there to explain why certain things are happening in the relationship and teach more effective skills to get better outcomes.

Read more about individual, couple, family and group therapy advantages here